A fresh study claims that new mothers over the age of 40 are more likely to have a heart attack or stroke later in life.
Scientists at the University of Minnesota in America looked at more than 72,000 women to compile their new research, with 3,300 of those falling pregnant at a more mature age. The research was conducted on the women over a period of 12 years during the latter stages of their lives as part of the US Women’s Health Initiative Study.
They found that the women who had given birth after turning 40 were 70 per cent more likely to die of a cardiovascular disease in later life. They were also found to be twice as likely to suffer a haemorrhagic stroke, caused by a brain bleed, and a fifth more likely to have a heart attack.
In addition, their risk of suffering from an ischaemic stroke (caused by a blood clot) was increased by a staggering 60 per cent.
The results were presented on Wednesday (17Feb16) at the American Stroke Association Meeting in Los Angeles.
“We already knew that older women were more likely than younger women to experience health problems during their pregnancy,” Professor Adnan Qureshi, lead researcher and director of the Zeenat Qureshi Stroke Institute in Minnesota, said at the meeting.
“Now, we know that the consequences of that later pregnancy stretch years into the future. Women with a late pregnancy need to be aware of their increased risk and take steps to improve their cardiovascular health.
“Their doctors also need to remain vigilant years later in monitoring these women’s risk factors through physical examination and, perhaps, more tests and earlier interventions to prevent stroke and other cardiovascular events.